Variation in sex peptide expression in D. melanogaster

Genet Res (Camb). 2009 Aug;91(4):237-42. doi: 10.1017/S0016672309000226.


Male Drosophila melanogaster transfers many accessory-gland proteins to females during copulation. Sex peptide (SP) is one of these and one of its main effects is to decrease female remating propensity. To date, there has been no investigation of genetic variation in SP-gene expression levels, or if such potential variation directly influences female remating behaviour. We assessed both these possibilities and found significant variation in expression levels of the SP gene across D. melanogaster isolines. A non-linear association between SP expression levels and female remating delay suggestive of disruptive selection on expression levels was also documented. Finally, while some isolines were infected with the endosymbiont Wolbachia, no association between Wolbachia and SP expression level was found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / microbiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Male
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Species Specificity
  • Wolbachia / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Peptides
  • SP protein, Drosophila